Balancing Volunteering with Other Demands in Your Life

Balancing volunteering

Like everything in life, you spread out your energy in a sustainable, efficient way by balancing volunteering. It’s important to be realistic with the amount of time and effort you can put into the volunteer position you choose both for the benefit of yourself and the organization you choose to invest in. 

After all, once you go through the steps to join an organization, you want to follow through on your commitment. That way, you can learn and grow with a cause you love.

Balancing Volunteer Time and Energy

First, ask yourself, how many free hours per week do I have to commit to helping out in the community? What is your comfort level with volunteer commitments? 

Are you a person who prefers going out weekly or does a one time event suit you better?  Do you want a hybrid position or are you seeking a role that gets you out of the house? 

Figuring out what fits you is what will define a volunteer opportunity that balances out with the other parts of your life. Similar to dating, finding a suitable match that works for you creates a great partnership. That is what Volunteer Peterborough strives to do. 

Explore these Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities 

Here are some examples of various types of volunteer opportunities: 

  • Five Counties Children’s Centre is partnering with the Peterborough Petes for the Next Gen Game on Feb. 19. At this one-time event, volunteers help with the silent auction, chuck-a-puck sales, passing donation buckets and face painting. 
  • 4th Line Theatre will host auditions and interviews for volunteer actors on Jan. 28. If you have an interest in acting onstage or being a part of an outdoor production in your community, you can learn new skills and work alongside professional actors, directors and choreographers!
  • Artspace’s Open Studio Support is a bi-weekly event that takes two to four hours. This role includes greeting community members and orienting them to the Open Studio program, checking in on community members and making art alongside them. In addition, volunteers will help make tea and coffee then serving it to community members. Further, they assisting Artspace staff in set-up, cleanup, and organization of the space and taking photos of activities in the space
  • Kawartha Haliburton Children’s Foundation seeks Bingo Volunteers for monthly events. Duties include posting and storing their charity sign, welcoming customers, calling back the four or five digit card # of the winner, recycling used bingo cards, and smiling while interacting with customers.

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via

Combine Parenting with Volunteering

Why not include the kiddos when you go out to volunteer? Spending time together to help the community is a great way to connect, especially in a neutral zone. Whatever the level of your child’s schooling, you can balance volunteering with each age group. 

Find out what days and times work for your family or, if you want to include more parents and kids, all of you. Is after school the right time or would a weekend shift work better? 

Ask what type of activities interest your young one and go from there. You would be surprised what you learn about one another outside of the home environment. Create a powerful way to spark that desire to enrich your community and your own experience.

Volunteer while Hanging Out with Friends 

Having a job, socializing with friends and volunteering – how can you do it all?! Why not combine friends and volunteering for a fun, fulfilling group activity. After all, you could end up making even more friends. 

Recently, Volunteer Peterborough spent the afternoon with teens at the New Canadians Centre who were helping out by making sandwiches for people who are unhoused. Lois Tuffin, Founder and Leader of Volunteer Peterborough, asked a few why they kept volunteering and the answers were all about spending quality time with friends while helping out the community. If you want to find out more about that adventure, check out the video.

Notice the Signs of Burnout 

Many caregivers and empathetic people want to give and help as much as they can, however, these folks tend to have the highest rate of burnout. If the amount of volunteering starts to cause anxiety or stress, communicate with the volunteer manager. Maybe the number of hours you invest turns out to be too much or that particular position is not the right fit. That’s okay! It’s important to be really honest with yourself regarding balance in your life and the first signs of burnout and stress. 

For volunteer managers, effective use of your staff and volunteers draws on a crucial leadership skill. Never underestimate the importance of this skill. 

How well you delegate is directly reflected in how empowered your employees and volunteers feel, which strengthens their skills, their decision-making abilities and, ultimately, their productivity, especially in the engagement and retention of volunteers.

With this in mind, Volunteer Peterborough is sponsoring a training session on March 28 about maximizing your delegation skills. Clearview Training created this program for all non-profit staff, especially executive directors, volunteer co-ordinators and board members.

If you register by Friday, March 1, individuals pay $79 plus HST. That rate drops to $69 per person plus HST for two or more people from the same organization. After March 1, the fees go up to $99 per person plus HST or $89 plus HST for the group rate. The course runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and includes full training materials and a delicious hot buffet lunch.

Register soon and give your volunteers an even more robust experience – balancing their needs with your own.

Top photo courtesy of Graphic-Mama team via

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